Luvin’ that Magazine

“True, Texas” is the cover story for this month’s issue of Texas Highways Magazine (September, 2011). For years, we have pointed our hearts toward the destinations the writers in this magazine tell of. They’ve been our inspiration for travel and dining and just plain Texas pride for many years. With regard to the cover story they write, “We searched the state to select this year’s slate of true Texas icons. All the elements in our mythical town resonate with Texans everywhere.”

I especially enjoyed the story about the “Bakery Cafe” in Aransas Pass (no website or Facebook page at this time). The timing of this article is perfect. Summer is almost over — at least in relation to school starting. Touristy Texas will calm down a little and we’ll hit the road. One of our stops will now be the Bakery Cafe because the description of their diverse and delicious menu. In the meantime, we’ll try our best to avoid thinking of the hand-breaded chicken fried steaks or hand-patted burgers. If imaginations of their steaks, seafood or Mexican food start forming in our minds, we’ll just shut out the torture pack up the car, and do some first-hand sampling ourselves.

Why not check them out?

The Bakery Cafe in Aransas Pass

434 South Commercial Street
Aransas Pass, TX 78336-1808

Honoring A Bit of San Antonio Dining History

Featuring locally owned restaurants is our specialty. We love focusing on the epicurean entrepreneurs — the owners and their families — who dig deeply into their daily existence to serve fresh food every day their way.

A slice of  San Antonio entrepreneurial history can be found at Earl Abel’s Restaurant on the Austin Highway.   We recently came across this video the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce produced because Earl Abel’s Restaurant has been a participating member since 1933! We could tell you wonderful things about the faithful staff and great food at Earl Abel’s, but the video says it all. Simply click on the picture below and enjoy!

Congratulations to Roger Arias and the great staff at Earl Abel’s!

 

Food Truck Throw Down This Weekend

Food Truck Foodies unite!  It’s a “Food Truck Throw Down” this Friday through Sunday in San Antonio  (July 29th – 31st) at  Boardwalk on Bulverde (preferred haunt of the Rickshaw Stop)!   All food is affordable and the entertainment won’t stop. We hear that 28 food trucks from all over the state will be there with cuisines as varied as the towns in Texas.

Here are a few of the regular food trucks at Boardwalk on Bulverde.

K-Hill BBQ

Rickshaw Stop

KC’s Cones

Watch for the Duk Truck (random rotating cuisine), Guilty Pleasures (comfort food) and Tapa Tapa (small plates, but especially fresh fruit with pop rocks) along with many others.

If you fall in love with Boardwalk on Bulverde, return for “family-friendly fun,” on Kid’s Movie Night each Thursday this summer. Friday and Saturday evenings include a DJ who brings the kids in on the musical fun, too.

To Boardwalk on Bulverde

(click on map for full view)

*We recommend: 1) Evenings in the summer month, and 2) Sample a little of everything!

 

There’s a Delicious “Kick” to Their Tortilla Soup

Another Tortilla Soup Blog? Here’s what we figure. If our readers/followers/fans keep telling us about their favorite Tortilla Soup dining spots, we’ll compile the biggest Tortilla Soup directory in the country. ¡Vamos! (You can see our up-to-date photo album on Facebook.)

So, here’s the latest. Another reader, Margaret Fisher, recommended Sweet Temptations in McAllen, Tx as the best spot anywhere for Tortilla Soup. Her comment was, “I know it’s not in S.A., but when in the Valley, you’ve got to try Sweet Temptations…both the ‘tortilla’ and the ‘green chile’ are the best!”

Sweet Temptations Tortilla Soup

We recently chatted with owner, Marty Lipscomb. Marty and his wife, J.P., make their Tortilla Soup fresh every day. Though they make several fresh soups each week, this is their guests’ favorite.

Did we use the word “meatless” yet? This version has no chicken (yay, vegetarians!) with whole field tomatoes, zuccini, seasonings, cheddar and their own in-house white corn tortilla chips. (Now that makes me wonder what else they’re making with the whole tortillas!?) You’ll find Rotel tomatoes in the base with a few other secret ingredients. The only dairy is the cheddar on top. This favorite soup is made fresh daily and, oh, we must tell you the spicy “kick” is there, but it’s slight and just right.

What else can you enjoy at Sweet Temptations? Chicken Cordon Bleu, hand breaded Chicken Fried Steak and Shrimp, wonderful salads w/ house made dressings, a variety of other freshly made soups, and on and on.

These folks are open for breakfast and lunch only, so be sure to call ahead for their hours of operation. Here’s the link to their website once again.

Too Fun to Describe in a Headline

Gather your adventurous friends and family members and get ready for the most unique Texas Hill Country Night Trip (as opposed to Day Trip) you’ve probably ever had. We can personally testify that, though the weather is as hot as can be, the journey is a HOOT.

Once you round up your “podnas” you’ll head out to the

Brick’s River Cafe Along the Medina River

Cowboy Capital of the World — Bandera, Texas. Where you’ll definitely want to plan an early dinner at Brick’s River Cafe. After an informal poll, Judy at Twin Elm Guest Ranch, recommended Brick’s as the best dining spot in the area. Owner, Brick Gibson, promises to offer you a warm welcome, friendly service and a wonderful meal in a great atmosphere. Brick says that folks LOVE the handbreaded Angus chicken fried steak with two homemade sides. Healthier alternatives include grilled talapia or chicken with lots of salad choices. Almost all meals are $10 or less. Here’s a map to get you there, but be sure to note this cozy spot is located behind the River Oak Inn.

Twin Elm Rodeo

After dining along the Medina River, it’s off to the Twin Elm Rodeo. This is a small regional rodeo held every Friday night all summer long. We can personally attest to the fun of sitting just yards away from every event and watching locals practice their rodeo skills. Don’t want to drive home? The Twin Elm Guest Ranch folks will be glad to put you up for a night. Just give ’em a call ahead of time to be sure they have a spot for you! If you stay for a while you can have your own horseback ride there.

So ya’ll pick yurselves a good Friday to mosey on over to Bandera and have a whoppin’ good time.

Will This be Your First, First Friday?

What’s First Friday? Think  FUN, FOOD, FRIENDLY and FABULOUS.  The first Friday of the month is a Southtown fav for area foodies who want to spark up their night life with extra food choices, events, people and traffic. Okay, the traffic doesn’t sound too exciting, but it comes with the package.

Map of SouthTown - south of downtown San Antonio

Granted, First Friday’s original focus was art exhibits in the area, but our focus  is FOOD and many San Antonio Southtown restaurants participate in First Friday. Why not??

Knowing Frank’s Hog Stand has a unique venue, as the world’s first ride-in restaurant, we decided to check in with them to see what they have going on. Naturally, they’ll have live music starting at about 7:30, featuring Bear Fax. This is a big biker night, too, so you weekend bikers can cruise on over and compare your wheels.

Not a biker? No prob. Believe it or not this is a family friendly spot with yummy food in hearty portions. In fact, they’re offering up Blue Bell ice cream cones for 50 cents each this summer. Naturally, I had to sample a strawberry cone, just to be sure I could recommend it with authority. 

New manager, Samantha Solis, is making things happen over there. Even in the middle of a weekday afternoon, guests were pouring in — a good testimony about any restaurant. The always friendly staff surely has something to do with that, though the continuously playing ’50’s music adds to the fun.

While there, Samantha and I set up some great new $5 Deals for the next few months. Be sure to “Like” us on Facebook to snatch up these bargains each day.

Frank’s is already offering incredible weekday lunch deals for $6.99. Any weekday, you can order up a shrimp poorboy, mushroom-swiss burger, country fried steak, two hot dogs, chicken fajita salad and more. All come with a side and a drink! I assure you, you won’t leave hungry.

New Manager, Samantha Solis

Can you picture yourself there yet? Good food. Good fun. Good location. Friendly folks.

And, if you’re ready for your first, First Friday, Frank’s Hog Stand is worth the trip. More pics of their “First Friday” events can be found in their Facebook photos.

Other Southtown restaurants include MadHatter’s Tea House and Cafe and Taco Haven Mexican Restaurant.

Happy Dining!

Cyndy Bartelli

Tilapia Dinner w/ Homemade Cole Slaw

Over 20 Cuisines in One Place

You say it can’t  be done? Visit the Texas Folklife Festival on June 10 – 12 in San Antonio and you’ll be able to sample over 20 cuisines from around the world! Add to the more familiar options like Italian and Mexican —  Greek,  German, Lebanese, Belgian, Irish, Nigerian, Salvadoran and many more.

The great thing is, you can enjoy plenty of these diverse menu offerings for $5 or less! Here’s the official online menu that has been posted. Check out those Belgian Au vin blanc mussels, or the Lebanese Falafel Sandwich, or the Salvadoran Pupusa. My heart started perking at the thought of Bratwurst on a Bun w/Sauerkraut. (I love clinging to my German heritage!)

Granted you have to pay an entrance fee (Adults $10 in advance, Children $5 or free if under 6 yrs), but the venue and offerings make it all worthwhile.

The Festival’s 6 stages, located throughout the grounds, feature all types of ethnic and cultural entertainment.   Be on the look out for roving performers on the grounds like the South Texas Gunslingers and the San Antonio Pipes & Drums.

So, grab your friends and family and head out for a fun weekend. What better city to celebrate your heritage (and everyone elses’) than San Antonio?